Some gyms are capturing the energy created by users to power the TVs in the buildings. But what if we capture energy from our movements throughout the day? That’s what one designer asked and she set out to examine what the future of wearable energy capture would look like.
Of course, her motivation came from the gym.
“I used to run at the treadmill at the gym, and I saw all these people running on belts,” Ahola says. “It didn’t really make sense to me that we were expending all this energy, but treadmills were consuming all this energy at the same time. So I started delving into the potential of energy harvesting.”
One of Ahola’s most intriguing concepts looked at turning fitness trackers into fitness harvesters. What if, instead of measuring progress by calories burned or steps taken, we measured our fitness in joules, the basic units of energy captured? If we attached energy harvesters to our running sneakers—or bikes—we could then deposit the energy collected from them at terminals Ahola calls “harvest hotspots.”